Sectors 'D' and 'E'

Power and water supply


This article is one of a series that considers the employment and economic value of various sectors of the Lancashire economy. Please see the sector profiles introduction page for details of where we derive the employment and gross value added results, plus how we identify various organisations in Lancashire as belonging to particular sectors.  The article focuses on employment and gross value added results for the following two industrial sectors that together cover the standard industrial classification codes from 35.11 to 39.00.

  • Sector D. Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • Sector E. Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Sector D is mainly engaged in the generation, transmission or distribution of electricity; the manufacture, distribution and trade of gas, and steam and air conditioning supply. Whilst not in themselves drivers of economic development, the utilities have very strong interactions with other sectors of the economy and play a vital part in providing the infrastructure necessary for growth.

Sector E that covers water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities primarily contains employees and only has a small number of working owners. 

The economic value and employment levels in sectors D and E

Gross Value Added (GVA) is generally regarded as the best measure of the sum of economic activity within an area. Local estimates of gross value added (GVA) are published by the Office for National Statistics that are split by various industrial sectors. The estimates of GVA for 2014 reveal that the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector (sector D) accounted for £378 million which represents just 1.4% of the total GVA figure for the Lancashire-14 authority area. Water supply, waste management and remediation activities (sector E) accounted for an additional £363 million which represents 1.3% of the total GVA figure for the Lancashire-14 area.


In terms of job opportunities the utilities sector (D) is relatively small in the Lancashire-14 area with a 2014 employment figure of about 1,900. Most utilities have participated in the growth of out-sourcing and the extensive use of contract workers from third party companies, so many of these jobs are now classified under different standard industrial classification headings according to the activity of the employer.

Table 1, Employment numbers in Sectors D and E. Lancashire-14 area

 Year   2014
Electricity, power generation, transmission and distribution  21,700
Manufacture of gas, distribution of gaseous fuels through mains  300 
 Steam and air conditioning supply
Total (sector D) Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply  1,900 
 Water collection, treatment and supply 200 
 Sewerage 900 
Remediation activities and other waste management services
Total (sector E) Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 4,900 

Source ONS - Business Registry Employment Survey

 [1] Remediation activities division includes the provision of remediation services, i.e. the cleanup of contaminated buildings and sites, soil, surface or ground water.

 (*) Please note that there was some employment allocated to these sectors but the estimates were too small for publication. 

Major employers

United Utilities has a presence in both sectors D and E for its work associated with the management of electricity networks, and water supply and treatment. 

At Heysham, the two AGR plants owned by EDF Energy represent one of the largest concentrations of power generation in the UK. Heysham 1 is capable of supplying nearly 2.5 million homes and is now expected to be in production until 2024, whilst Heysham 2 has a slightly larger output capacity and has a revised decommissioning date of 2030. The web links for Heysham 1 and 2 highlight the numbers of EDF employees and contractors at the two power stations.  

Fuel for these plants and for all other UK nuclear plants is manufactured at the Westinghouse Springfields site near Preston.

BES Utilities in Fleetwood is an independent supplier of gas and electricity to commercial businesses, whilst Inenco, based in St Annes, specialises in strategic energy management, procurement, sustainability, reporting and analysis and employs more than 400 staff across five offices.

SITA is a major recycling and resource management company that has a large number of sites across the country.

ICT Reverse in Morecambe is a leading UK electronics recycling company. Its activities are split between the collection of non-hazardous waste that is within sector E.

Shirley's Recycling Ltd, in Blackburn, is an old established recycling firm that specialises in non-hazardous waste and recovery of sorted materials.

Lancashire Waste Recycling Ltd, reprocesses and refines residual waste into fuel for use across various industries.  

Preston Plastics Ltd specialises in the recycling of waste plastics.

Page updated October 2015